Finding strength in challenging times! Yea, that’s a tough one. I don’t know about you, but, my tough times often come at me with a vengeance. In some ways, I can feel as though one thing hits me before I’ve fully recovered from the first one. On and on it can go leaving us barely catching our breath and crying out in desperation “God save me!”
In these times, disappointment, fear, anxiety, and negativity come alongside us hissing out lie after lie or fear after fear. Is God really going to come through? Make another plan. I should just give up. What if…. and so it goes. The sound of our circumstances crashing against us begin to get louder and louder while God’s voice so easily can dwindle to nothing more than a faint memory.
How can we begin finding strength in challenging times?
…but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31
Hope is always around us. It comes alongside to lift up our weary arms and fill us again with the truth that God is faithful and good. There is more to finding strength in challenging times than hope. I call it going higher. Each time I find myself being overwhelmed with unanswered questions, turbulent emotions, and circumstances, I find myself hearing God’s gentle voice whisper Fly higher…go higher…higher still. In this moment, I know that God is wanting me and you to stop listening to the overwhelming noise of circumstances and what some would call reality. Shut it all out and focus in on God who is sovereign and has a far superior view on life than we have realized.
How do we fly higher? How can we go about finding strength in challenging times?
We all have hope in something. We hope that tomorrow will be a better day than today. We hope to have a happy life, marriage, children, etc… Hope is the beginning of faith. During challenging times, we may be focusing our hope on our spouse, boss, work, family, friends, church, and so on. We are hoping that they will carry us and see us through. Is this wrong? No. God created us to be in relationships; and, yes, our friends and family are to be the support we need to get through such times. However, our ultimate hope needs to be in God.
We hope in his faithfulness, goodness, mercy, strength, and grace. We hope that he will come through for us and that who he says he is, remains true. Inevitably, we fuel our hope by reminding ourselves and God of his character and his name. His name (Jehovah Jirah, Prince of Peace, Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, etc…) is his reputation. Our hope fuels our faith which in turn puts us into action. Who do you hope in? Man or God?
Discover the power of a renewed mind
Finding strength in challenging times also comes in the power of a renewed mind. What are you thinking about? What is flowing out of your mouth?
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21
What you think about will pour out of your mouth and create the world you live in. Having a healthy thought life (Read my post on Positive Affirmations during hard times is crucial to overcoming those trials. Yes, life is hard. Guess what, God is still good, faithful, present, and merciful!
A renewed mind comes when you take captive every thought that comes into your mind and you present it before God and Scripture. Is what you are thinking contrary to Scripture and God? We generally have three types of thought categories in our minds:
- Our thoughts which could be general musings or planning the day ahead.
- Negative thoughts which often sound like: “I’m not that clever…Jane Doe is better than me…I’m a failure…I can’t get anything right…Why am I doing this…No one loves me…No one sees me…I’m invisible…I have no worth…I’m stuck in this place for the rest of my life.
- God thoughts which are straight from the heart of God. These thoughts sound like I am so blessed…God is so good, look what he provided…Wow, God provided for us today…Thank you, Lord, that we went to the doctor for …..
Not every thought you think is yours. Learn the difference. You have been given the mind of Christ, therefore, it is sanctified, pure, and holy. Your circumstances don’t have to dictate your emotional state or how you experience life. You get to choose how you will respond to life and the world around you. You are the only one who can control your thoughts and emotions.
When you live with a renewed mind, you are free to live in the fullness of who God has created you to be. Your confidence will rise as will your faith and hope. This is how Paul was able to say that we are to face our trials with joy. The quickest way to shut the devil up is to focus on Jesus…
Soaring like eagles…
When we hope in the Lord, we soar on the wings of eagles. This is breathtaking. A friend gave me a beautiful prophetic picture. She saw me in a wilderness with a fire vortex (resembling my circumstances) whirling around me and that I was to go higher above the vortex into the eye of the storm as it were. Later on that Sunday, God showed me this same vortex. Holy Spirit came to me in the form of an eagle and told me to climb on. Up we went a straight vertical line. I could feel the warmth of the fire against my skin. I knew this was the fire of God surrounding me and in my circumstances. It was noisy and loud. Eventually, we flew up into clear blue skies and the most incredible stillness filled my spirit. During the whole time, Holy Spirit told me that he was showing me what he meant by asking me to fly higher and what I would find when I got there. He clearly told me that I was to fly there next to him. This encounter was to show me the way, but, I still had to choose to fly above my circumstances.
(Side note: This was a vision I had with the Lord).
I recently learned that when you reach a certain height in the mountains, you are less likely to find snakes and other times of bugs because they can’t survive in that small amount of oxygen. I love this. The higher we go with God in our view of life and in our thought life, the less likely we are to encounter the lies of the world or the enemy. We are able to speak God’s life and heart into our circumstances and the world we live in. This shifts atmospheres and changes our circumstances.
Life remains life but our approach and attitude will change significantly. Instead of walking around with the posture of a person defeated and on the defensive, we will walk with our heads held high and a spring in our step. We won’t grow faint or weary because our hope is in God.
Finding strength in challenging times – who or what is your anchor?
Finding strength in challenging times is possible when we know who or what is our anchor. For me, Love (who is actually God) is my anchor. No matter the times that come my way, love keeps me rooted and secure. My family is rooted in God’s love for them and my love. Love has been what has kept me going through the good and lows of life. I am grateful to God for love and the immense power that a four letter word holds.
What is your anchor?
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